Training one child is a challenge, but potty training twins or multiple children of the same age is like gearing up for an Olympic event. It involves more equipment, more training time, more mess, and parents who posses exponentially more patience.
You are bound to come up against many roadblocks. On the upside, you will have the advantage of peer pressure. Siblings can have a huge influence on each other – especially when it comes to toilet habits, so you’re already one step ahead!
However, it won’t be all sunshine and roses. You still will have some significant hurdles when toilet training. Much advice is the same as with the individual child, but some applies specifically to multiples. Here are a few tips:
One potty chair won’t be enough. Training is stressful enough as it is without asking your multiples to share the potty. When a child has to go, it’s nearly impossible in the early stages to ask them to wait their turn. You could be taking steps back instead of forward.
Let each child have his or her own potty chair. Potty training is about the individual child, so have the chair represent them and give them a sense of ownership when they have their own piece of furniture that no one else can use.
Because establishing a routine is the best way to potty train your child, you may want to make it a fun game for your multiples. This will make it easier on you and make it a pleasant experience for them.
When you are trying to train multiples, don’t let them go diaper-less unless you have someone else there to watch them. You will likely find yourself doing little more than cleaning up accidents if you go it alone.
There is bound to be a bit of chaos in your house with toddler multiples, so it’s probably going to be a bit difficult for you to get them to notice their body’s signals that it’s time to use the potty. Let them bring toys or books into the bathroom with them when they need to sit on the potty and focus.
What if you have one child who is interested in potty training and another one who isn’t? This is where you need to be a little less enthusiastic about the process. When one child goes on the potty, DO give him or her praise, but dole it out and then move on.
Absolutely DO NOT make the other child feel inferior because his or her sibling is successfully using the potty. There is a certain amount of competition that naturally exists with multiples anyway. Don’t intensify that competitive spirit. They’ll go eventually, just be patient.
You may also want to stay away from treats for using the potty in this situation. Toddlers have a difficult time understanding the sharing process, so when one child gets something that the other one doesn’t, you may be faced with some pretty big temper tantrums and resistance.
You may also be faced with some regression issues with one of your children. Don’t push in this situation. Your child may be having some real emotional issues with the idea of separation from their diapers and each other. Until both are ready, step back and let your children lead the way.
Structure is very important – especially with multiples. We’re not just talking about potty time but all the time. Make potty time a daily ritual that is fun!
You may want to separate the kids as much as you can during training. Lessening the intensity that exists naturally between them will help all of you. Give them some one-on-one time and let them listen and focus better with your undivided attention.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you get too involved in the process, you may find your children resisting. When someone else is around to buffer the situation, you’re much more likely to have a slightly easier time.
Try not to get frustrated and angry at resistant kids. All you can do when one or the other resists is to back off. If you push them too much, their natural urge will be to resist and you will have more problems than if you just let it go for awhile. They’ll get it eventually.
Ultimately, to achieve peace, yours and your children’s, let them take the lead. If they want to go on the potty, fine. If they want to wear diapers, that is okay too. They have to work out their ambivalence and all a mom can do (and this is the hard part) is wait patiently until they do.